Battleship (film)

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Battleship Poster.jpg
Directed by Peter Berg
Produced by
Written by
  • Jon Hoeber
  • Erich Hoeber
Based on Battleship
by Hasbro
Music by Steve Jablonsky[1]
Cinematography Tobias A. Schliessler
Edited by
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • April 3, 2012 (2012-04-03) (Tokyo)
  • May 18, 2012 (2012-05-18) (United States)
Running time
131 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $209–220 million[3][2]
Box office $303 million[2]

Battleship is a 2012 American military science fiction action film loosely based on the board game of the same name. The film was directed by Peter Berg and starred Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna, Tadanobu Asano, Alexander Skarsgård, and Liam Neeson. Filming took place in Hawaii and on the USS Missouri. In the film, a fleet of ships are forced to do battle with an armada of extraterrestrial origin in order to thwart their destructive goals.

Battleship premiered in Tokyo on April 3, 2012 and received a wide release by Universal Pictures on May 18. It received mixed-to-negative reviews.[4][5] The film also under performed at the box office, making only $65 million in North America out of $303 million worldwide.


In 2005, the Gliese system, some 23 light years from Earth, is discovered to have a planet believed to be capable of supporting life. A transmission is beamed to the planet by from Hawaii by NASA scientists hoping to contact any intelligent life on the planet. Meanwhile, slacker Alex Hopper is arrested while attempting to impress Sam Shane, daughter of U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Terrance Shane. At the urging of his brother, naval officer Stone Hopper, Alex joins the U.S. Navy in order to improve his life.

In 2012, Alex is now a hothead and disrespectful lieutenant and Tactical Action Officer aboard the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John Paul Jones, while Stone holds the rank of commander and the Commanding Officer of USS Sampson. Alex is in a relationship with Sam and is in danger of receiving a disciplinary discharge from the Navy. During the 2012 Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) in Hawaii, five alien spacecraft arrive in response to the NASA signal. Their communications ship collides with a satellite and crashes in Hong Kong while the other four land in the waters off Hawaii. Sampson, John Paul Jones, and the JMSDF Kongō-class destroyer Myōkō are ordered to investigate.

Upon arrival, they discover a massive floating structure. Alex and two crew members, GM2 Cora Raikes and CPO "Beast" Lynch, are sent to approach the structure in an armed Zodiac. Alex touches the structure causing it to generate a massive force field that encloses the Hawaiian Islands, separating the Navy ships from the RIMPAC fleet. Three alien warships emerge from beneath the water and face off with the terrestrial vessels. Under Stone's orders, Sampson issues a blast from its foghorn, but one of the alien warships answers it with a damaging sonic blast, forcing Stone to order the John Paul Jones to fire a warning shot. The alien ships return fire and in the ensuing engagement both the Sampson and the Myōkō are destroyed while the John Paul Jones is badly damaged. Stone and the entirety of the crew on his ship are killed, as well as the Captain and the Executive Officer of the John Paul Jones. Alex returns to the Sampson and, now as the most senior officer, assumes command. They recover the survivors from Myōkō, including Captain Nagata. The alien structure launches drones towards Hawaii, which attack and destroy military and civilian infrastructure installations on the island of Oahu.

On Oahu, Sam, a physical therapist, is accompanying retired U.S. Army Colonel and double amputee Mick Canales, on a mountain hike to help him adapt to his prosthetic legs. Sam and Mick run into some police officers who order them to get off the mountain before being ambushed and killed by the aliens. Sam and Mick encounter scientist Cal Zapata who informs them the aliens have taken over a communications array, which they realize the aliens are modifying to re-establish communications with their home planet and call for reinforcements.

Aboard the John Paul Jones, naval personnel capture a semiconscious alien. In a confrontation, the alien forms a brief telepathic link with Alex, showing him that they have successfully invaded and conquered other planets. Other aliens arrive to rescue their captured comrade. One alien stays aboard, intending to sabotage the ship, and Alex kills it by luring it into the firing line of a 5"/54 caliber Mark 45 gun. Investigating the captured alien's helmet, Seaman Ordy is able to determine that the aliens are sensitive to sunlight. Ashore, Sam and Mick force Zapata to recover his spectrum analyzer from the aliens. They use it to contact the John Paul Jones crew and inform them that in four hours, the aliens will be able to contact their planet.

With their radar functions disabled by the force field, Captain Nagata suggests using NOAA's tsunami warning buoys around Hawaii to track the alien warships. Using this strategy, the John Paul Jones destroys two of them, but is unable to hit the third. At dawn, they lure the warship eastwards, where Alex and Nagata shoot out its bridge windows. The alien crew are blinded by the sunlight which allows the John Paul Jones to destroy the alien ship. The John Paul Jones is then targeted by alien drones, destroying the vessel as the crew abandons ship.

The survivors return to Pearl Harbor and commandeer the USS Missouri, a decommissioned battleship. With the aid of the retired veterans preserving her, the Missouri is restored to battle readiness and confronts the alien mothership. In the ensuing battle, the Missouri's 16-inch main guns severely damage the mothership and disable the force field in the process. Meanwhile, Sam, Mick and Zapata attempt to stall the aliens at the communications array. As the mothership rallies, Alex uses the ship's last shell to destroy the communications array, cutting the aliens' contact with their home planet. Before the Missouri is destroyed, Australian fighters from the RIMPAC fleet arrive and destroy the drones and the mothership, eliminating the alien threat.

A ceremony is held by Admiral Shane to honour the military personnel, where Alex is promoted to lieutenant commander, and presented with a Silver Star and his brother's posthumous Navy Cross. After the ceremony, Alex is given an offer to become a Navy SEAL. He then asks Admiral Shane for his daughter's hand in marriage. The admiral initially refuses, but then invites Alex to lunch to discuss the matter, referencing how Alex and Sam met.

In a post-credits scene, three teenagers and a handyman in Scotland discover a crashed alien pod. When they open it, an alien hand reaches out, and they run off in terror.



Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker and Peter Berg promoting the film at WonderCon 2012.

Battleship was to begin filming in Australia's Gold Coast in 2010, but the production company changed location due to a lack of Australian government tax incentives and a high estimated budget of $209 million.[6]

Filming took place in the United States on the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Oahu, as well as in Sherman Oaks, California to do a few apartment scenes and in Playa del Rey, California where they filmed a driving scene along with a shootout.[7] Further filming was done on the USS Missouri.[8] Some scenes were also filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.[9]

The Science & Entertainment Exchange provided science consultation for the film.[10]

A Kongō-class destroyer of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force also appeared in the film.[11]


Jeremy Renner was originally considered for the role of Hopper, but the actor chose to star in a Paul Thomas Anderson drama filming at roughly the same time.[12][13] In April 2010, it was reported that Taylor Kitsch had been cast as Alex Hopper,[13][14] Alexander Skarsgård played his brother Stone Hopper, Brooklyn Decker stars as Sam, Hopper's fiancee and Liam Neeson as Admiral Shane, Sam's father and Hopper's superior officer.[15][16] Barbadian R&B singer Rihanna makes her acting debut in the film, as a sailor.[17] In an interview with GQ, Berg explained how he came up with the idea to cast her. He realized she could act after her appearance on Saturday Night Live.[18] She accepted the role because she wanted "to do something badass" and also because it wasn't a role too big for her to play.[19] Tadanobu Asano also has a role in the film as the commander of a Japanese Kongō-class destroyer. Double amputee U.S. Army Colonel Gregory Gadson, who had never acted before, plays LTC Mick Canales.[20] He was cast after Berg saw a picture of him in the National Geographic Magazine.[21]

The film marks the reunion between former co-stars Kitsch and Jesse Plemons, who previously worked together on Berg's TV series Friday Night Lights. Berg said he loves working with friends and explained he knew how comfortable Kitsch was with Plemons, "I know that he’s really good for Taylor and he makes Taylor better. So, I wrote that whole part for Jesse." He added, "I never thought of it as a Friday Night Lights reunion. I thought of it as protection, bringing a trusted family member in."[22]

U.S. Navy sailors were used as extras in various parts of this film. Sailors from assorted commands in Navy Region Hawaii assisted with line handling to take Missouri in and out of port for a day of shooting in mid 2010. A few months later, the production team put out a casting call for sailors stationed at various sea commands at Naval Station Mayport, Florida to serve as extras.[23] Sailors were also taken from various ships stationed at Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville, Florida: USS Hué City, USS Carney and USS Vicksburg were some of the ships that provided sailors.[24]


Soundtrack album by Steve Jablonsky
Released May 8, 2012
Genre Film score
Length 77:28
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer Steve Jablonsky

Due to his success with the Transformers franchise, composer Steve Jablonsky was chosen to score the official soundtrack. The soundtrack features original compositions from Jablonsky and features rock guitarist Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine. Director Peter Berg stated:

Working with composers often is a really frustrating experience because you speak a different language and, oftentimes, they take two or three jobs, at the same time. They're difficult and pretentious and they're tormented artists. I'm not going to name names, but most of them are. One guy who isn't is Hans Zimmer, who taught Steve Jablonsky. We had a couple of meetings and I came up with this idea. The day I met with him, I had had an MRI for my neck, and they make that really scary sound. I was like, 'I just had this MRI, and when I was in there, I was thinking about the aliens, and it was really scary.' And he was like, 'Oh, that's awesome!' He went and recorded MRIs and made music out of MRIs, and that's the theme of the aliens in our film. He is no drama, and just goes and gets it done. The score is big and awesome and scary and driving. At times, it's very simple and acoustic and touching and emotional. He's the best I've ever worked with.[25]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Steve Jablonsky except where noted.

Battleship: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
No. Title Length
1. "First Transmission" 3:19
2. "The Art of War" 4:33
3. "Full Attack" 3:55
4. "You're Going to the Navy" 1:04
5. "The Beacon Project" 5:09
6. "Objects Make Impact" 4:40
7. "First Contact, Part I" 1:53
8. "First Contact, Part II" 2:10
9. "It's Your Ship Now" 4:05
10. "Shredders" 4:07
11. "Regents Are on the Mainland" 2:44
12. "Trying to Communicate" 3:17
13. "Water Displacement" 2:20
14. "Buoy Grid Battle" 3:05
15. "USS John Paul Jones" 2:25
16. "We Have a Battleship" 2:51
17. "Somebody's Gonna Kiss the Donkey" 4:35
18. "Super Battle" (composed by Tom Morello) 1:34
19. "Thug Fight" (featuring Tom Morello) 3:31
20. "Battle on Land and Sea" 2:50
21. "Silver Star" 1:56
22. "The Aliens" 4:20
23. "Planet G" 4:01
24. "Hopper" 3:15
Total length: 77:28
Additional music credits


Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna and Brooklyn Decker at the Battleship Australian premiere in April 2012.

The film was originally planned to be released in 2011, but was rescheduled to May 18, 2012, in the United States.[26] The film's world premiere took place in Tokyo on April 3, 2012. The event was attended by director Peter Berg, actors Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgård and Rihanna. Later on they initiated a Press Tour visiting Madrid, London and Cartagena de Indias to promote the film.

Box office[edit]

The film earned $303,025,485, and only $65,422,625 in North America. With a budget of $209 million the film did not reach the expectations.[27]

The film opened outside North America on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, more than five weeks before its North America release, earning $7.4 million.[28] Through Friday, April 13, the film had earned a 3-day total of $25 million.[29] By the end of its opening weekend, it earned $55.2 million from 26 markets, ranking second behind the 3D re-release of Titanic.[30]

However, on its second weekend, it topped the box office outside North America, with $60 million.[31] In South Korea, it achieved the highest-grossing opening day for a non-sequel and the third-highest overall ($2.8 million).[29] In comparison to other Hasbro films, Battleship's opening in the UK (£3.76 million) was behind the first Transformers (£8.72 million), but did better than G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (£1.71 million).[32]

In North America, Battleship grossed $8.8 million on its opening day (Friday, May 18, 2012), with $420,000 originating from midnight showings,[33] and finished the weekend with $25.5 million. It settled in second place for its opening day and opening weekend behind Marvel's The Avengers.[34][35][36]

Critical reception[edit]

Metacritic has given the film an average score of 41 out of 100 based on 39 reviews meaning “mixed or average reviews”.[37] Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 34% based on reviews from 209 critics, with a rating average of 4.6 out of 10. The site's consensus reads: "It may offer energetic escapism for less demanding filmgoers, but Battleship is too loud, poorly written, and formulaic to justify its expense -- and a lot less fun than its source material."[38]

Megan Lehmann of The Hollywood Reporter thought that the "impressive visual effects and director Peter Berg's epic set pieces fight against an armada of cinematic clichés and some truly awful dialogue."[39] Empire magazine's Nick de Semlyen felt there was a lack of character development and memorable action shots, and sums up his review of the movie in one word: "Miss."[40]

Many reviews criticised the "based on a board game" concept driving the film, although some, such as Jason Di Rosso from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National, claimed the ridiculousness of the setup is "either sheer joy or pure hell – depending on how seriously you take it", while de Semlyen "had to admire [the film's creators] jumping through hoops to engineer a sequence that replicates the board game."[40][41][42] Several compared the film to Michael Bay's Transformers film series in terms of quality and cinematic style, with Giles Hardie of The Sydney Morning Herald claiming that the movie "finds the same balance between action-packed imagination and not taking the premise seriously that made Michael Bay's original Transformers such a joyride."[39][41] Andrew Harrison of Q magazine called the film "crushingly stupid".[43] Film critic Kenneth Turan, in a review written for the Los Angeles Times, also expressed disappointment, criticizing the film's "humanoid aliens", stating that they are "as ungainly as the movie itself, clunking around in awkward, protective suits." He called the content "all very earnest", but added "it's not a whole lot of fun".[44] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film one out of four stars, and he comment "Battleship is all noise and crashing metal, sinking to the shallows of Michael Bay's Armageddon and then digging to the brain-extinction level of the Transformers trilogy."

Other critics were less harsh for Battleship: Writing for Time, Steven James Snyder was somewhat positive because he had low expectations of the film. He wrote, "The creative team behind this ocean-bound thriller decided to fill the narrative black hole with a few ingredients all but absent from today’s summer tent poles – namely mystery, nostalgia and a healthy dose of humility" and described it as "an unlikely mix of Independence Day, Pearl Harbor, Jurassic Park and The Hunt for Red October".[45] Giving it a B+ grade, Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly said, "For every line of howler dialogue that should have been sunk, there's a nice little scene in which humans have to make a difficult decision. For every stretch of generic sci-fi-via-CGI moviemaking, there's a welcome bit of wit."[46] The Washington Post gave the film a three-star rating out of four commenting it is "an invigorating blast of cinematic adrenaline".[47] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2½ stars out of 4, praising the climax as "an honest-to-God third act, instead of just settling for nonstop fireballs and explosions, as Bay likes to do. I don't want to spoil it for you. Let's say the Greatest Generation still has the right stuff and leave it at that."[48]


List of awards and nominations
Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result
Annie Awards[49] Best Animated Effects in a Live Action Production Willi Geiger, Rick Hankins, Florent Andorra, Florian Witzel, Aron Bonar Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards[50] Best Sound Editing
Best Summer Blockbuster 2012 TV Spot
Houston Film Critics Society[51] Worst Film
Golden Raspberry Awards[52][53] Worst Picture
Worst Director Peter Berg
Worst Supporting Actor Liam Neeson
Worst Supporting Actress Brooklyn Decker
Rihanna Won
Worst Screenplay Jon Hoeber and Eric Hoeber Nominated
Worst Screen Ensemble
Saturn Awards[54] Best Special Effects Grady Cofer, Pablo Helman, Jeanie King and Burt Dalton Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[55] Choice Movie Breakout Rihanna Won
Visual Effects Society[56] Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual-Effects Driven Film Grady Cofer, Pablo Helman, Kevin Elam, Glen McIntosh Nominated
Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture Florent Andorra, Willi Geiger, Rick Hankins, Florian Witzel

Home media[edit]

Battleship was released on DVD and Blu-ray disc on August 20, 2012 in the United Kingdom,[57] and on August 28 in the United States and Canada.[58] Its revenue was $32.4 million.

Video game[edit]

A video game based on the film, titled Battleship: The Video Game, was released on May 15, 2012 to coincide with the film's international release. The game was published by Activision and developed by Double Helix Games for PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360, and developed by Magic Pockets for Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS.

Board game[edit]

Hasbro released several new editions of the classic board game, including an update to the regular fleet-vs.-fleet game and a "movie edition", featuring the alien vessels and a card-based play mode.

See also[edit]


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  3. ^ John Gaudiosi (May 30, 2012). "$220 Million Battleship Flop Sinks Not Only Universal Pictures, But Activision Game". Forbes. Retrieved December 27, 2014. Universal Pictures reported a $209 million production cost (unadjusted) excluding advertising budget. 
  4. ^ Battleship, retrieved 2017-06-07 
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  29. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (March 14, 2012). "Box Office Report: 'Hunger Games' Edges Out 'Three Stooges,' 'Cabin in the Woods'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 14, 2012. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  30. ^ Segers, Frank (March 15, 2012). "Foreign Box Office: 'Titanic 3D' Unsinkable No. 1 Overseas After Sensational China Debut". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
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External links[edit]